Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus Demo


The Gibson Les Paul Standard is one of the most classic sounding guitars you will find. When I first started listening to the Allman Brothers so long ago, I dreamed of actually owning one of these guitars someday.

In fact, I did end up owning one at some point in time. It was a 1960 Les Paul Classic Reissue, but for some reason I never really was able to get the sound I wanted out of it either from lack of knowledge or not trying different things with the amp and pedals. This guitar is much different than a Fender and getting a good tone from one can differ drastically from a Strat.

Now I’ve finally been able to get the Traditional Plus model, which is a dream come true. At this point I’ve been able to purchase quite a few guitars over the years and really have started to understand how each guitar can be used to get the tone out of it.

This guitar is really a great sounding one. I will say that my search for a Les Paul has taken a while. There are so many models these days and they all look, feel, and sound different. Here’s a little rundown of how I came to the decision to purchase this guitar.

The Search

First, I knew I wanted some kind of Les Paul Standard. This left me with still a few different options. Today there is the Traditional Pro, Traditional Plus, Les Paul Standard, and the new Les Paul Standard 2012 which is not chambered but weight relieved. Over the last few months, I have been trying out numerous Les Pauls and have found that they all sound a little different and the finish can be drastically different from each guitar. One Iced Tea finish can look completely different than another, making it hard to understand what exactly the real color is of each burst.

Anyway, after playing numerous models I was really digging a 2012 Les Paul Standard I was trying out at Guitar Center. It had a really nice sound and a great neck. I didn’t feel completely in love with it though, so I decided not to go ahead and purchase it. Plus, the 2012 Standards are pretty expensive. Not that the other ones aren’t but these are around $400 more expensive.

The Find

That same day I went to a different Guitar Center here in Atlanta and tried out The Les Paul Standard (pre 2012 chambered), The Traditional Pro, and the Traditional Plus. Using a Deluxe Reverb and a Maxon OD 808 I demoed each guitar one after another. The first one I tried was the Traditional Plus in an Iced Tea burst with a 50’s neck. This guitar had a lot of fatness and that Warren Haynes, Duane Allman sound was there!

To me, this was the first one I tried that totally had it in my mind. The finish was really cool as well. If you’re going to spend this much on a guitar, you better like everything about it. The Standard pre 2012 chambered was ok but sounded kinda thin to me compared to the Traditional Plus. It had a 60’s neck and was a little easier to play, but the tone was not there like the Traditional Plus. Next, I tried out the Traditional Pro and it was pretty good sounding as well, but it did not have the same fatness and sustain as the Traditional Plus. It also had a 60’s neck which is kinda easier to play, but the 50’s fatter neck feels more comfortable to me.

After playing each guitar back and forth numerous times, I was completely convinced that the Traditional Plus was a superior guitar in every way to the other models, and this particular one was the guitar I had been searching for. I didn’t really plan on buying a guitar that day, but sometimes when you find the guitar that really speaks to you, you must get it.

Tone Search

So after bringing this guitar home, I did realize that it needed a little setup to get it playing like I wanted it to. The first thing I did was put some DR Pure Blues .010s on it. Next, I raised the action some and turned the truss rod a bit for some relief. I believe I have it where I want it at this point, so all is good.

The first time I fired it up with the Vibrolux, I noticed that the clean sound was amazing. Just really precise and clear. Next, I tried some overdrive pedals but could not get the sound I was looking for. The OCD was missing midrange, and things became too rock sounding, while the Ibanez TS9 made it sound real boxy and midrangy.

So now I was unable to get the tone that was in my head, so I realized that the pedal I was using when I tried out the guitar was probably the one I needed. This was the Maxon OD 808. I ended up getting that same exact pedal which was the last one they had and it was even missing the box. I didn’t care because I knew THAT pedal had the sound I was looking for.

So the final setup ended up being this.

Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus
57 Classic and a Classic Plus Pickups
1966 Fender Vibrolux
Maxon OD 808 – Link to Amazon – Maxon OD808 Overdrive
Mr B’s Bottleneck Slide

Watch a Video of Me Playing this Guitar


Les-Paul-Hardware-blog les-paul-trad-body les paul trad maxon

Let me know what you think of the sound in the comments below. I’ll also try to answer any questions you have as well.


24 thoughts on “Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus Demo”

  1. Wasnt expecting the video so soon! Such a great tone you get, always! Love that guitar. I think it looks better in the video being played than in the still shots. That is saying a lot as the still shots you put up were killer!!! I look forward to more videos with that thing! Congrats again.

    • I’ve had it for about a week, so I’ve been planning the video release. I think it does look the best in the video as well. Thanks. Hopefully I’ll get some new lessons with it soon.

  2. John,
    I’ve enjoyed your You Tube lessons for years. On your new Paul what size frets do you have; do you have the medium size jumbo?
    Many thanks for the years of inspiration.

  3. John,

    That’s a beauty and it sounds great (especially with your nice playing). I appreciate your discussion on the guitar selection too. I’d someday like to own a Les Paul myself.

  4. John, thank you for posting all videos, you are a blues master☻
    I know you have a Gibson 335, but ever tried a 355 stereo? Wonder if you could get
    the same sounds out of 355 like your doing on this new Les paul?
    Anyway i still thank you for all of your musical skills and keeping the blues magic alive
    forr everybody☻

  5. Hi John great guitar . I love les pauls great tone ,but they all tend to sound differient.
    My les paul journey started with a 1968 les paul custom black ,gold .probulary the heaviest lespaul iv’e everr owned. after owning it a few years someone stole the guitar . I have replaced it with a les paul classic 1960 reissue in honeyburst , just not the same guitar sound . Some day i hope to own a 1959 reissue ,played one at guitar center and fell in love with it . But like you said les pauls and gibsons in general are very pricey.Well thanks for the great video

  6. Hey John hope all is well with you! Congratulations on your new Les Paul it’s very nice! I’ve got a Traditional Plus as well in the Ice Tea finish and I just love it! Found mine on website I had been looking for a desert Burst Traditional only without the pickguard installed and I finally found some on that website. They are Guitar Center Traditional Plus exclusives and they come without the pickguard installed, the truss cover is plain ( doesn’t say Traditional and 2 coil taps as an added feature. Other than that is is just like the Traditionals that come with the pick guards with the 50’s Neck, the 57 & 57 plus pick ups and that great tree trunk feel. To me it’s actually just like owning a 59 reissue with that Almman Brothers sound but at a price of $2,299 ( $1,800 even out the door over labor day ) instead of $5900 Needless to say I know the exhilarting feeling from that sound that you are describing. To me this is their best guitar! Now I can really start practicing on my dvd set I got from you! Can’t wait to get that Allman Blues and Slide sound out of mine someday! Anyway take care and enjoy it! You deserve it! Charlie Lynch / Orlando, Fl 32810

  7. Hey John, I bought the Traditional plus in the desert burst finish almost a year ago because I was looking for the ‘Duane’ sound for a long time. Its good to know that my ear is tune with yours. I just wish I could play mine like you play yours, damn!!!! I had tried the trad pro but it sounded thinner than the plus.

  8. Hi John, of course I would expect your new les paul to sound great. I too have had my sites on one. But does it really sound much different than the other gibson you use on your videos? If so, how does it compare?

    • Yeah it’s a lot different than the 335. The 335 is more open sounding while the Les Paul is extremely thick and tight sounding. Maybe that will help. I would recommend going and trying a lot of them out and see what you think.

  9. Smokin’ John! I’ve had a LP since I bought it new in ’81 and I love it. Good tone, good feel. Great job – thanks for posting. It inspired me to get mine out and go and leave the 335 alone for a while!

  10. Hey John, I tried almost everything and still not able to get a sound that I want.

    I switched over from Gibson to Ibanez and get the sound!

    I will study your suggestions but without the several amps on 11 or hurting level i can`t get a proper sound out of the Gibsons.

    Thanks for the ongoing info about everything! you alway keep on surprising me!

  11. Hello John,

    Great Job , I love the sound off the Gibson Les Paul traditional Plus.
    Mine is an 1978 Gibson Les Paul tobacco sunburst Standard which I bought new and still enjoy every time I play on it. Good luck with your video’s , I watch them all!
    Greetz from the Netherlands !

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